Peter Murrell’s re-arrest has plunged the SNP into crisis

There is what can only be described as a mood of despair in SNP circles following the news that the former party chief executive Peter Murrell, husband of Nicola Sturgeon, has been re-arrested and charged with ’embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National party’. It is the latest shocking twist in the long-running investigation into SNP fund-raising and finances called Operation Branchform. Mr Murrell has now resigned from the party. He was first arrested ‘as a suspect’ in April last year but was then released without charge. At the time, a £110,000 Niesmann and Bischoff campervan was seized by police from outside Mr Murrell’s mother’s Dunfermline home. SNP headquarters in


The SNP’s net zero hypocrisy

The Scottish nationalists are no stranger to hypocrisy, as their latest U-turn shows. For on Thursday afternoon the Yousaf regime — the only government in the UK which boasts Green politicians — announced that it was, er, ditching its flagship green commitments. Yes, that’s right, amid a litany of stories about SNP sleaze, the government confirmed it was throwing in the towel on its its 2030 carbon target. At least they’re consistent in their inconsistency… The ironically-named ‘wellbeing economy’ minister Màiri McAllan told Holyrood on Thursday that the Scottish government is abandoning its goal to cut carbon emissions by 75 per cent — but promised it will ‘pave the way


Nicola Sturgeon’s husband charged in SNP police probe

Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the SNP, has tonight been charged with embezzling money from his party. Murrell, the husband of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, was taken into police custody earlier today for a second time in connection with Operation Branchform, the probe into SNP funds. Murrell was arrested at 9 a.m. today, just over a year after he was first held on 5 April 2023. On that day, the Sturgeon-Murrell household in Glasgow was searched by officers and the SNP’s HQ in Edinburgh was raided. Both Sturgeon and the party’s former treasurer Colin Beattie were arrested last year in connection with the probe, but were subsequently released

Humza Yousaf could never realise Sturgeon’s fantasy climate plans

It was Cop26 in Glasgow and Nicola Sturgeon was in her element, posing for selfies with Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and assorted world leaders. The then first minister was desperate to upstage Boris Johnson who had very much put his mark on the global climate shindig. ‘It’s one minute to midnight on the Doomsday clock,’ the prime minister warned the assembled green lobbyists and corporate CEOs, ‘and we need to act now’. He promised to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by 68 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030 and to achieve net zero by 2050. Nicola Sturgeon just had to go one better. Scotland would cut emissions by 75 per

It’s no surprise the SNP’s climate change law has failed

When Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the SNP’s climate change pledge in 2019, the First Minister boasted that Scotland had the ‘most stretching targets in the world’. The problem was that they were too stretching: five years on, the flagship goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 has been binned. The decision to axe the climate target means that another part of Sturgeon’s legacy lies in tatters. This debacle also reveals something simple: writing something into law doesn’t mean it will happen. Despite talking a good game, the Scottish government has consistently missed its climate targets – it failed to achieve eight of the last 12 annual


Why won’t Humza close Scotland’s tartan Tavistock?

Another day, another Holyrood mess. This time, it’s hapless Humza Yousaf being criticised for his slow response to the Cass review into gender services. It’s not like the Scottish First Minister to be missing in action when it matters… If Yousaf’s time as First Minister is defined by anything, it might well be his staggering level of indecision. Just hours after Mr S asked the question about Scotland’s tartan Tavistock, hapless Humza Yousaf finally threw in the towel. This morning, the Sandyford gender clinic in Glasgow has announced it is pausing prescriptions of puberty blockers to new patients under the age of 18 in light of the Cass review. Only

JK Rowling has exposed the weak spot in the SNP’s misogyny law

When will the Scottish government get on with the day job? Hot on the heels of his controversial Hate Crime Act, Humza Yousaf has now promised a misogyny law that will apparently protect members of both sexes. The First Minister insisted that ‘anyone affected’ by misogyny would be covered, whatever their biological sex. This includes, of course, transgender women. One wonders if the SNP is so detached from reality that it does not know the difference between men and women, or they are so deeply in the pockets of an activist lobby that they pretend not to know. Either way, it is bad for women and bad for Scotland. Once


SNP ditches public trust question from national survey

If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question. That seems to be the mantra by which the SNP is currently abiding. Careful analysis of the many, many years of the ferry fiasco to the recent confusion over former health secretary Michael Matheson’s iPad bill has shown that important queries haven’t always been voiced when they should have been. And now, the latest example of question avoidance relates to a rather sensitive matter for the Scottish government: public trust.  It transpires that SNP ministers have quietly scrapped a question on this very issue from the Scottish Household Survey. The poll asks the public to rate their trust

Humza Yousaf owes Joanna Cherry an apology

Following the publication last week of Dr Hilary Cass’s review of gender services provided by the NHS, politicians rushed to insert themselves on the right side of the debate. For many, this meant quite dizzying displays of reverse-ferreting. After years of dismissing the concerns of medical experts, parents and feminist campaigners about treatments such as the administration of ‘puberty-blocking’ drugs, a remarkable number of MPs found that, in fact, they actually felt the same way. Cass laid out in black and white the lack of understanding of the long-term effects of such medical interventions and politicians could no longer dismiss the concerns of those holding gender critical views. To do


Watch: Pro-indy filmmaker’s bizarre currency claim

Another day, another nationalist gaffe. This time it’s pro-indy filmmaker and columnist — for that august journal the National — Lesley Riddoch in the spotlight. In a rather bizarre attempt to persuade the good people of Scotland that independence wouldn’t be a terrible idea, Riddoch has demonstrated exactly why the Nats should not be in charge.  In a stilted documentary clip, Riddoch tries to contrast the Denmark-Sweden crossing with one that could exist between Scotland and England in an alternate reality. As she’s driving, Riddoch tells the camera of the ‘frictionless border between two different countries’. They have ‘different systems, different languages and different currencies’. She goes on: Does that


Scottish government spent £400,000 on promoting new hate crime law

Back to Scotland and Humza Yousaf’s controversial new hate law. The First Minister’s Hate Crime Act has left an already overstretched and under-resourced police force swamped with trivial complaints. Of the over 7,000 reports made in the first week, only three per cent of these were actual crimes. And now the spotlight is on the rather strange public information campaign released by the Scottish government. Not only was it pretty ineffective at communicating exactly what a hate crime is (hence the low crime to report ratio), it has now transpired that it cost the taxpayer nearly, um, £400,000. Crikey. The questionable ‘Hate Hurts’ campaign — plastered across billboards and TV


Labour overtakes SNP in polls for first time

Uh oh. Today brings tidings of misery for hapless Humza Yousaf as a new poll reveals that support for Labour has overtaken the SNP for the first time since the 2014 indyref. The YouGov survey sees Labour on 33 per cent, up a point since October last year, while support for the Nats has gone down by two points to 31 per cent. How the mighty fall… Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour has been narrowing the gap between the two parties for the last year, with the resignation, police probe and arrest of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon providing a helping hand. Meanwhile support for independence has stagnated, with ‘yes’ stuck at

Scotland’s hate crime act is stifling academic freedom

For the past few days, I’ve been hoping to receive an email from the two universities in Scotland where I’m enrolled in a joint PhD programme. So far, though, I’ve not heard from either of them. It seems obvious that all of this is creating a climate of fear and stifling academic discourse Since the war in Gaza broke out, students have received weekly, and sometimes even daily, updates about the conflict. But when it comes to Scotland’s new Hate Crime Act, which came into force this week, there has been virtual radio silence. This is despite there being deep concerns about the impact the Act will have on free


Scotland’s police at ‘breaking point’ over hate law

Oh dear. As the furore around Scotland’s Hate Crime Act extends into its sixth day, there are now fears about police spending as the force looks set to struggle with the sheer volume of complaints. It is understood that, since the Act was implemented on Monday, 40 officers a day have been required to work overtime to help tackle reports. With officers being paid time and a third for working extra hours, there are concerns about overstretching the Police Scotland budget. What a mess… Over 3,000 hate crime complaints were submitted in the first 24 hours of the Act and the Scottish Tories have predicted that at this rate, over

John Ferry

Who’s to blame for Scotland’s ferry fiasco?

You wait eight-and-a-half years for someone to lose their job over the SNP’s ferries fiasco, then two sackings come at once. So which Scottish government minister has finally paid the price for a scandal that has left islanders without reliable ferry services, brought the Scottish government and its agencies into disrepute, and cost Scottish taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds and counting?  Not Derek Mackay, the junior minister responsible for transport when the contract was awarded in October 2015 – in a typically boosterish fashion at the SNP’s conference. He resigned in February 2020 after it emerged he had sent messages to a teenage boy. The first minister at the time the ferry contract

Scotland’s Hate Crime Act may have done us all a favour

Scotland’s Hate Crime Act (HCA) has, by common agreement, been an unmitigated disaster. Less than a week old, there are already calls for it to be repealed – like the equally misconceived but more awfully named Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012. The police are now clearly hesitant of arresting anyone for hate crime The police have been swamped with thousands of complaints, many vexatious, all of which they are pledged to investigate. JK Rowling has blown the doors off with her ‘arrest me’ tweets, but the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, attracted more hate crime complaints in the first two days than she did. SNP Ministers like Siobhan Brown have been ridiculed for misrepresenting their own


Sturgeon accused of being a part timer in Holyrood

It’s been a year since Peter Murrell, the husband of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested in connection with the police probe into SNP finances. Murrell was subsequently released pending further investigation, before the same fate met Sturgeon last summer. But while the SNP hasn’t caught a break since then, it seems Sturgeon has been enjoying a few too many. The former FM now sits as a backbencher in Holyrood, after her unexpected resignation last February. And it seems Sturgeon has rather enjoyed relinquishing her power. Labelled a ‘part-time MSP’ by the Scottish Conservatives, it transpires that in the last year, Sturgeon has made just four contributions at Holyrood


Top ten moments of the SNP police probe

One whole year has passed since the infamous forensic tent was set up outside former first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow home. On the same day, her husband and former chief executive of the party, Peter Murrell, was arrested in connection with the police probe into the ‘missing’ £600,000 of donations the party received for its IndyRef2 campaign. The police investigation, Operation Branchform, has been ongoing for three years and The Spectator has documented every twist and turn. Peter Murrell, former SNP CEO, is arrested A year ago today, the former chief executive of the SNP and Sturgeon’s husband, was arrested at 7.45am and taken into police custody. Murrell was questioned


Poll predicts Labour could become Scotland’s largest party

As Scotland’s embattled First Minister continues to face backlash over his Hate Crime Act, his party has been hit with yet more bad news. New polling from YouGov suggests that Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour party will become the largest party in Scotland, taking 28 seats and pushing the SNP into second place. The Nats are predicted to lose almost 25 of their Westminster seats, retaining just 19, the next time the electorate head to the ballot box. The MRP poll suggests that Labour will sweep up across Scotland’s central belt – widely regarded within the Scottish party as being ‘the first red wall to fall’ – and is even predicted


Four groups keeping quiet on the SNP’s Hate Crime Act

It’s three days since Scotland’s Hate Crime Act took effect and there is no sign of public outrage dissipating anytime soon. Within the first 24 hours of Humza Yousaf’s hate bill becoming law, over 3,000 complaints were submitted — with the First Minister on the receiving end of more complaints than JK Rowling. Mr S isn’t quite sure how much genuine hate crime has been reported but if there’s one thing the Act has done successfully, it’s stirring up a rather significant amount of hate for itself.  North of the border, the legislation is tearing the country apart. Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory MSP, continues to demand answers as to


SNP minister under fire for confusing tax claims

Is the SNP on a mission to make itself even more unpopular? Wellbeing economy minister Màiri McAllan is the latest politician to face a backlash after she confused voters with claims about Scotland’s progressive tax system on Twitter. McAllan first insisted that when making comparisons between Scotland and Ireland’s economic growth, the fact that Ireland was ‘(a) independent and (b) in the EU single market’ were ‘key recipes for growth’ and ‘critical to Scotland’s future prosperity’. Quelle surprise. But then McAllan tweeted that:  In the meantime, our progressive tax regime sees most people in Scotland pay less tax than rUK while asking those who can to pay a bit more

Stephen Daisley

Don’t feel too encouraged by police leniency with JK Rowling

Police Scotland, who are responsible for enforcing Humza Yousaf’s Hate Crime Act, have found no criminality in a series of tweets posted by JK Rowling. On Monday, the day the Scottish law came into effect, the author, a gender-critical feminist, tweeted about a number of men who call themselves women – and insisted they were still men. In doing so, she said that, if this was a crime, she would ‘look forward to being arrested’ under the Act, which carries prison sentences of up to seven years. I would say this took some balls on her part but such metaphors are probably best avoided given the subject in hand.  Responding to the


Damning poll reveals SNP supporters don’t think Yousaf is up to the job

In a week that will prove testing for Humza Yousaf as public outrage over his hate crime bill continues, there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the beleaguered First Minister. A new poll has suggested that out of all the leaders of Scotland’s political parties, Yousaf is the public’s top choice for First Minister. That is, however, where his good news ends. The poll, conducted by Find Out Now for Alex Salmond’s Alba party, surveyed just under 2,000 Scots about their preferences for First Minister. But while Yousaf ranked first, only a quarter of all voters picked him — and fewer than half of SNP supporters felt he was